Chitra - A Play in One Act

Chitra, a Play in One Act

Rabindranath Tagore

...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................12 SCENE IX ........12 SCENE VIII........................10 SCENE VI ..................................................9 SCENE V........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... a Play in One Act.....................................................................7 SCENE IV ...........................................................................1 Rabindranath Tagore ....................................................2 SCENE II...............................10 SCENE VII......................15 i .......Chitra................................................................................................................... a Play in One Act Table of Contents Chitra.....................................4 SCENE III...................................................................................................................................................1 SCENE I..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................1 PREFACE.........

and learning that he was Arjuna the Pandara. In order to obtain an heir. that he and his successors should each have one child. he performed severe penances. the king said: "The one son that will be born to her must be the perpetuator of my • PREFACE • SCENE I • SCENE II • SCENE III • SCENE IV • SCENE V • SCENE VI • SCENE VII • SCENE VIII • SCENE IX Scanned and edited by Elliot S. the king of the country. Continuing. He. Pleased with these austerities. told him that Prabhanjana. When a son was born to them. wheelere@acm. It is based on the following story from the Mahabharata. in fulfilment of a vow of penance. set out again on his TO MRS. he asked the king for the hand of his daughter in marriage.Chitra. the beautiful daughter of Chitravahana. he embraced her with affection. In the course of his wanderings. http://www. was the first to have only a daughter Chitrangada to perpetuate the race. and lived in her father's capital for three years. on this condition.blackmask. therefore. the god Shiva gave him this boon. a Play in One Act Rabindranath Tagore This page copyright © 2001 Blackmask Online. always treated her as a son and had made her his heir. WILLIAM VAUGHN MOODY PREFACE THIS lyrical drama was written about twenty−five years ago. You can take her." Arjuna promised and took Chitrangada to wife. It so happened that the promised child had invariably been a son. one of his ancestors in the kingly line of Manipur. Chitravahana. Chitra. Wheeler. and taking leave of her and her father. He had. Smitten with her charms. There he saw Chitrangada. Chitravahana asked him who he was. a Play in One Act 1 . had long been childless. Arjuna came to Manipur. if you like. That son will be the price that I shall demand for this marriage.

Lord Vasanta. I am Eternal Youth. Who art thou and what is thy prayer? Chitra I am Chitra. VILLAGERS from an outlying district of Manipur. woman though I be. a Play in One Act THE CHARACTERS GODS: MADANA (Eros). a prince of the house of the Kurus. the daughter of the kingly house of Manipur. ARJUNA. Madana SCENE I 2 . MORTALS: CHITRA. With godlike grace Lord Shiva promised to my royal grandsire an unbroken line of male descent. Madana But what stern vow is thine. Death and decrepitude would wear the world to the bone but that I follow them and constantly attack them. I bind in bonds of pain and bliss the lives of men and women! Chitra I know. but wished these omitted if it were printed as a book. VASANTA (Lycoris).And who art thou.Chitra. daughter of the King of Manipur. NOTE. He is of the Kshatriya or "warrior caste. Proposals for its production here having been made to him. he went through this translation and provided stage directions." and during the action is living as a Hermit retired in the forest. the Lord of Love? Madana I am he who was the first born in the heart of the Creator. my lord? Vasanta I am his friendVasantathe King of the Seasons. fair stranger? Why dost thou wither thy fresh youth with penance and mortification? Such a sacrifice is not fit for the worship of love. I know what that pain is and those bonds.The dramatic poem "Chitra" has been performed in India without scenerythe actors being surrounded by the audience. Nevertheless. Chitra I bow to thee. the divine word proved powerless to change the spark of life in my mother's womb so invincible was my nature. SCENE I Chitra ART thou the god with the five darts.

that is why I am dressed in man's attire and have left the seclusion of a woman's chamber. . whither fled thy presumption? Could I but exchange my youth with all its aspirations for the clod of earth under his feet. tall limbs. Then with the sharp end of my bow I pricked him in contempt. like a sudden tongue of fire from a heap of ashes. Chitra One day in search of game I roved alone to the forest on the bank of the Purna river.Chitra. and he knows how well. An amused smile flickered round the corners of his mouth. nor speak a word. the foliage vibrated with the chirping of crickets. waist−chain. The eye does its work untaught. the play of eyes. neither didst thou greet him. and a gown of purple red silk. The unaccustomed dress clung about my shrinking shame. but stoodest like a barbarian boor while he contemptuously walked away! . I asked him haughtily to move aside. the one great idol of my dreams! Yes. Madana That requires no schooling. . and forgot to do him obeisance. He has taught thee the use of the bow and all the duties of a king. but I have never learnt Cupid's archery. but he heeded not. Many a day my young ambition had spurred me on to break my lance with him. and knew that a man was before me. and found Arjuna in the forest temple of Shiva. My hands are strong to bend the bow. but I hastened on my quest." he said. Madana At the auspicious hour I teach the man and the woman this supreme lesson to know themselves. I donned bracelets. fair one. Madana Tell me the story to the end. Tying my horse to a tree trunk I entered a dense thicket on the track of a deer. anklets. I know no feminine wiles for winning hearts. across my path. Was this indeed Arjuna. What happened after that? Chitra With fear and wonder I asked him "Who are you?" "I am Arjuna. O foolish woman. I should deem it a most precious grace. Chitra SCENE I 3 . nor beg forgiveness. Then for the first time in my life I felt myself a woman. Instantly he leapt up with straight. and I understand the mystery of these impulses. a Play in One Act I know. to challenge him in disguise to single combat. foolish heart. I had long ago heard how he had vowed a twelve−years' celibacy. that is why thy father brings thee up as his son. who is struck in the heart. Ah. "of the great Kuru clan. I found a narrow sinuous path meandering through the dusk of the entangled boughs. when of a sudden I came upon a man lying on a bed of dried leaves. I know not in what whirlpool of thought I was lost." I stood petrified like a statue. and prove my skill in arms against him. perhaps at the sight of my boyish countenance. when suddenly I saw him vanish through the trees. Chitra Yes. Next morning I laid aside my man's clothing. I am the heart−born god.

I grant thy prayer. Surely at last the day would have come for him to look at me and wonder. and help him in all the great duties of a Kshatriya. Vasanta. I broke my bow in two and burnt my arrows in the fire. keep guard at night at the entrance of his tent. Chitra Had I but the time needed. Methought the vague veilings of her body should melt in ecstasy into air as the golden mist of dawn melts from off the snowy peak of the eastern hill. Do not ask me to tell you all. and thou. She bowed herself above the shining mirror of the lake and saw the reflection of her face. give me the power of the weak and the weapon of the unarmed hand. yet could not break me to pieces. a Play in One Act Only vaguely can I remember what things I said. so like a man am I. and what answer I got. and all my man's training lies crushed under thy feet. Now teach me thy lessons. an unattractive plainness. Shame fell on me like a thunderbolt. Therefore I have come to thy door. take from my young body this primal injustice. "I have taken the vow of celibacy.Chitra. thou world−vanquishing Love. thou god of love. O Love. that unnumbered saints and sages have surrendered the merits of their life−long penance at the feet of a woman. when slowly there came out from the folding darkness of foliage an apparition of beauty in the perfect form of a woman. and with a careless sweep of her left arm unloosed her hair SCENE II 4 . I would stand by his side as a comrade. scored by drawing the bowstring. so utterly hard. and ask no help of the gods. and meting out justice where it is due. I could win his heart by slow degrees. attend him in the pleasures of the chase. feeding it with nightly tears and covering it with the daily patient smile. the vow of a man! Surely thou knowest. a widow from her birth. and I will answer for the days that follow. and stood on a white slab of stone at the water's brink. Madana I will be thy friend. even as beautiful as was the sudden blooming of love in my heart. The flower of my desire shall never drop into the dust before it has ripened to fruit. god Love. drive the fierce horses of his war−chariot. Madana Lady. to accept his rebellion's sentence at thy hand. It seemed that the heart of the earth must heave in joy under her bare white feet. His last words as I walked home pricked my ears like red hot needles. but for one whole year the charm of spring blossoms shall nestle round thy limbs. "What boy is this? Has one of my slaves in a former life followed me like my good deeds into this?" I am not the woman who nourishes her despair in lonely silence. I hated my strong. then smiled. youthful Lord of the Seasons. rescuing the weak. lithe arm. I mused over bygone years in the sloping shadows of the evening. I will bring the world−conquering Arjuna a captive before thee. I am not fit to be thy husband!" Oh. thou hast laid low in the dust the vain pride of my manlike strength. She started up in awe and stood still. For a single day make me superbly beautiful. But it is the labour of a life time to make one's true self known and honoured. SCENE II Arjuna WAS I dreaming or was what I saw by the lake truly there? Sitting on the mossy turf. Give me but one brief day of perfect beauty. Vasanta Not for the short span of a day.

Fear me not. and sighing slowly. I live in this temple. and instinct with an exquisite caress. Arjuna What stern vow keeps you immured in this solitary temple. my heart! . dressed as a woman. My knowledge shall be yours. . She bound up her tresses. She beamed with a glad surprise. whose fame has captured your heart? Chitra SCENE II 5 . if the white lotus bud on opening her eyes in the morning were to arch her neck and see her shadow in the water. Chitra Honoured sir. what can you desire. a Play in One Act and let it trail on the earth at her feet. beautiful and great on the earth. Quiet. . But a moment after the smile passed from her face and a shade of sadness crept into her eyes. Arjuna Indeed! Who may this favourite of the gods be. Bending her head she saw the sweet blossoming of her youth and the tender bloom and blush of her skin. To me the supreme fulfilment of desire seemed to have been revealed in a flash and then to have vanished. Ah! it is she. Arjuna Alas. So. Chitra You have permission. for the fulfilment of which I offer daily prayers to Lord Shiva. . She bared her bosom and looked at her arms. you who are the desire of the whole world! From the easternmost hill on whose summit the morning sun first prints his fiery foot to the end of the sunset land have I travelled. . . If you will not take it amiss I would ask you a question. the very sight of you is indeed the highest hospitality. drew her veil over her arms. so flawlessly modelled. you are my guest. I have seen whatever is most precious. depriving all mortals of a vision of so much loveliness? Chitra I harbour a secret desire in my heart. But who is it that pushes the door? Enter CHITRA. I know not in what way I can show you hospitality. only say for what or for whom you seek.Chitra. would she wonder at herself the livelong day. Arjuna Fair lady. lady! I am a Kshatriya. walked away like a beauteous evening fading into the night. Chitra He whom I seek is known to all.

the conqueror of the world. Tell me who in the highest of kingly lines is the supreme hero? Chitra Hermit. and I will not hesitate to break this casket of my heart and throw the false gem to the dust. I have culled from the mouths of the multitude that imperishable name and hidden it with care in my maiden heart. his bravery and prowess false or true. Spurious fame spreads from tongue to tongue like the fog of the early dawn before the sun rises. Hermit. Chitra Arjuna. why do you look perturbed? Has that name only a deceitful glitter? Say so. Chitra Then it is not true that Arjuna has taken a vow of chastity for twelve long years? Arjuna SCENE II 6 .Chitra. the greatest of all heroes is he. you are jealous of other men's fame. a Play in One Act Sprung from the highest of all royal houses. offer not such wealth of beauty as is yours on the altar of false reputation. Arjuna! Arjuna Yes. Arjuna Lady. I am he. the love−hungered guest at your door. Chitra You. Arjuna Be his name and fame. for mercy's sake do not banish him from your heartfor he kneels at your feet even now. Do you not know that all over the world the royal house of the Kurus is the most famous? Arjuna The house of the Kurus! Chitra And have you never heard of the greatest name of that far−famed house? Arjuna From your own lips let me hear it.

Enter MADANA and VASANTA. Arjuna. and I burn whatever I touch. you are the wealth of the world. the one woman! Others there are who can be but slowly known. Ah. now indeed. not I. Chitra Alas. go. The history of my past life like that of my former existences was forgotten. the fame of your heroic manhood is false. to feel his heart struggling to break its bounds urging its passionate cry through the entire bodyand then to send him away like a beggarno. To face that fervent gaze that almost grasps you like clutching hands of the hungry spirit within. bend its head and at a breath give itself up to the dust without a cry. Chitra Oh. offer not your great heart to an illusion. impossible. the end of all poverty.drinking drop by drop the honey that I had stored during the long day. Madana I desire to know what happened last night. SCENE III Chitra No. Chitra At evening I lay down on a grassy bed strewn with the petals of spring flowers. I feel how vain is fame. what fearful flame is this with which thou hast enveloped me! I burn. Go. god of love. the body. Arjuna! It is the deceit of a god. if you are ready to pay for her the price of your probity? Not my true self. it is not I. my hero. I know. While to see you for a moment is to see perfect completeness once and for ever. go. and recollected the wonderful praise of my beauty I had heard from Arjuna. Go. Woo not falsehood. Surely this cannot be love. in these milk−white arms. which has but a few fleeting hours to listen to all the humming flatteries and whispered murmurs of the woodlands and then must lower its eyes from the Sky. Vasanta SCENE III 7 . the goal of all efforts. should make one blind to the light of the deathless spirit! Yes. shame upon you! What have you seen in me that makes you false to yourself? Whom do you seek in these dark eyes. a Play in One Act But you have dissolved my vow even as the moon dissolves the night's vow of obscurity. You alone are perfect. impossible. that this frail disguise. I know. this is not man's highest homage to woman! Alas.Chitra. thus ending the short story of a perfect moment that has neither past nor future. the pride of prowess! Everything seems to me a dream. Arjuna Ah. I felt like a flower.

Madana Alas. . suddenly in the depth of my sleep. like tapering fingers of flame. . on opening my eyes. my most beloved!" And all my forgotten lives united as one and responded to it. pleasure and pain. and with his staff in his hand he stood. I heard his call"Beloved. died to all realities of life and undergone a dream birth into a shadow land. and tried to weep and cry. I started up and saw the Hermit standing before me. peering through the leaves to espy this wonder of divine art wrought in a fragile human frame. time and space. take all I am!" And I stretched out my arms to him. I felt as if some intense eager look. He lay asleep with a vague smile about his lips like the crescent moon in the morning.Chitra. tall and straight and still. Chitra Heaven came so close to my hand that I forgot for a moment that it had not reached me. like a forest tree. Madana Alas. O god. I slept. my feet. The moon set behind the trees. The air was heavy with perfume. take back thy boon! SCENE III 8 . Heaven and earth. thou daughter of mortals! I stole from the divine Storehouse the fragrant wine of heaven. as the petals fall from an overblown flower. But no tears came to my eyes. a Play in One Act A limitless life of glory can bloom and spend itself in a morning. From the flowering Malati bower overhead silent kisses dropped over my body. the first twitter of birds. death and life merged together in an unbearable ecstasy. . the reflections of the trees hung motionless in the lake. And. I looked about me and saw the same old earth. and placed it in thy hand to drink yet still I hear this cry of anguish! Chitra [bitterly] Who drank it? The rarest completion of life's desire. this falsehood that enwraps me. The moon had moved to the west. this cursed appearance companions me like a demon robbing me of all the prizes of loveall the kisses for which my heart is athirst. but was wrested from my grasp? This borrowed beauty. the silence of the night was vocal with the chirping of crickets. how vain thy single night had been! The barque of joy came in sight. the first union of love was proffered to me. I remembered what I used to be. On my hair. I said. and ran and ran like a deer afraid of her own shadow. and the woman ashamed of her naked poverty will sit weeping day and night. But when I woke in the morning from my dream I found that my body had become my own rival. I sighed and stood up. The rosy red glow of the dawn fell upon his noble forehead. I drew together the leafy lianas to screen the streaming sun from his face. It seemed to me that I had. "Take me. One curtain of darkness covered all. to send her to my beloved and see her caressed by him. It is my hateful task to deck her every day. filled with it one earthly night to the brim. and sitting down covered my face with both hands. touched my slumbering body. Shame slipped to my feet like loosened clothes. through the forest path strewn with shephali flowers. my breast. will slip from me taking with it the only monument of that sweet union. each flower chose a bed to die on. I found a lonely nook. Lord Love. I rose up and sat leaning on my left arm. Madana Like an endless meaning in the narrow span of a song. but the waves would not let it touch the shore. Chitra The southern breeze caressed me to sleep. With the first gleam of light.

Do not take it to your palace hall to fling it on the stony floor which knows no pity for things that fade and are SCENE IV 9 . with this same lightness of touch and sweetness. Vasanta Listen to my advice. A time will come of itself when the heat−cloyed bloom of the body will droop and Arjuna will gladly accept the abiding fruitful truth in thee. the twin brother and sister. leave it beautifully to die at the day's end among all fading blossoms and decaying leaves. a nobler thing than this disguise. I am watching and thinking. sir? Arjuna I am thinking that you. When with the advent of autumn the flowering season is over then comes the triumph of fruitage. I will reveal my true self to him. Chitra What are you thinking. Skill and grace. Leave the little wild flower where it was born. are dancing playfully on your finger tips. O child. Chitra Home! But this love is not for a home! Arjuna Not for a home? Chitra No. if he spurns me and breaks my heart. Take to your home what is abiding and strong. go back to thy mad festival. SCENE IV Chitra WHY do you watch me like that. If he rejects it. would not that be cruel? With what resentful anger he must regard thee then? Chitra That would be better far than this. I will bear even that in silence. are weaving my days of exile into an immortal wreath. a Play in One Act Madana But if I take it from you how can you stand before your lover? To snatch away the cup from his lips when he has scarcely drained his first draught of pleasure. Never talk of that. my warrior? Arjuna I watch how you weave that garland. to crown me when I return home.Chitra.

But this can go on no longer. Take it and keep it as long as it lasts. no chain from which to hang it. no king's crown whereon to fix it. Put this garland on. Ever restless is thy play in heaven and on earth. Things that thou for days buildest up with endless detail thou dost shatter in a moment without regret. almost at its end. swoons in rapturous bliss. and cold ashes cover the glow of the fire. sir! Arjuna SCENE V 10 . a Play in One Act forgotten. I start up again from my slumber and with all my might rescue the weary flame. . Let all vain bickerings of discontent die away at the sweet meeting of our lips. the sound of prayer bells from the distant village temple steals upon the evening air across the silent trees! SCENE V Vasanta I CANNOT keep pace with thee. Sleep overtakes me. SCENE VI Arjuna I WOKE in the morning and found that my dreams had distilled a gem. It is a hard task to keep alive the fire thou hast kindled. forgets its duties. my love. My Kshatriya's right arm. But this work of ours is nearly finished. I have no casket to inclose it. and the year. no other! Why regret it? That which was meant for idle days should never outlive them. Arjuna Hush! Listen. . The day is done. thou art as fickle as a child. Joy turns into pain when the door by which it should depart is shut against it. Pleasure−winged days fly fast. . idly occupied in holding it. my beloved. Let not the satiety of your evening claim more than the desire of your morning could earn. Take me in your arms. Chitra Tell me your thoughts. I am tired. my friend! I am tired. the fan drops from my hand.Chitra. Enter CHITRA. and yet have not the heart to throw it away. Arjuna Is ours that kind of love? Chitra Yes. Madana I know.

The restless spirit is on me. Arjuna My love. Come closer to me. overleaps all barriers with mocking laughter. Are you quite certain that the enchanted deer you pursue must needs be caught? No. The dark shadow of the clouds hangs heavily over the forest. Let my heart feel you on all sides and live with you in the peaceful security of love. The woods resounded with the screams of peacocks. we dared each other to swim across turbulent streams on our way back home. a Play in One Act My mind is busy with thoughts of hunting today. My heart is unsatisfied. She whom you love is like that perfect bead of dew. betraying their lairs. and the swollen stream. Yet it goes free and unconquered. how the rain pours in torrents and fiercely beats upon the hillside. my love! You give chase to the fleet−footed spirit of beauty. Our sport is like that. Yet this magic deer runs ever free and untouched. not yet. I long to go hunting. my mind knows no peace. Arjuna Ah.Chitra. It offers no answer to any question. The dew that hangs on the tip of a Kinsuka petal has neither name nor destination. See. Our hearts danced to the drumbeat of rumbling clouds. the leopards would leave their tracks on the wet earth. On such rainy days we five brothers would go to the Chitraka forest to chase wild beasts. Arjuna Has she no tie with the world? Can she be merely like a fragment of heaven dropped on the earth through the carelessness of a wanton god? Chitra Yes. Timid deer could not hear our approaching steps for the patter of rain and the noise of waterfalls. Those were glad times. Our sport over. like reckless youth. aiming at her every dart you have in your hands. the smell of the flowers? Arjuna SCENE V 11 . Chitra First run down the quarry you are now following. Look how the wind is chased by the mad rain that discharges a thousand arrows after it. Like a dream the wild creature eludes you when it seems most nearly yours. have you no home where kind hearts are waiting for your return? A home which you once made sweet with your gentle service and whose light went out when you left it for this wilderness? Chitra Why these questions? Are the hours of unthinking pleasure over? Do you not know that I am no more than what you see before you? For me there is no vista beyond. Chitra Why this vain effort to catch and keep the tints of the clouds. that is why I always seem about to lose you. the dance of the waves. unattainable one! Surrender yourself to the bonds of name and home and parentage.

the year is not yet full. Chitra Hero mine. will bud anew as a pair of fresh asoka leaves. Arjuna Have you in this kingdom no warden? SCENE VII 12 . SCENE VIII Villagers WHO will protect us now? Arjuna Why. and the soft. in its last hour let my beauty flash its brightest. Yet.Chitra. Vasanta The loveliness of your body will return tomorrow to the inexhaustible stores of the spring. for fear your beggar's heart come back to it again and again with unsated desire. Give me something to clasp. by what danger are you threatened? Villagers The robbers are pouring from the northern hills like a mountain flood to devastate our village. grant me this my prayer! Tonight. like a thirsty bee when summer blossoms lie dead in the dust. Spare it not. my love. its days are numbered. Chitra O gods. Could this body of mine have drooped and died with the flowers of last spring it surely would have died with honour. something that can last longer than pleasure. SCENE VII Madana TONIGHT is thy last night. that can endure even through suffering. white glow of thy skin will be born again in a hundred fragrant jasmine flowers. Madana Thou shalt have thy wish. like the final flicker of a dying flame. a Play in One Act Mistress mine. press it dry of honey. do not hope to pacify love with airy nothings. The ruddy tint of thy lips freed from the memory of Arjuna's kisses. and you are tired already! Now I know that it is Heaven's blessing that has made the flower's term of life short.

when she winds herself round and round men's hearts with her smiles and sobs and services and caressing endearments. While she was in this happy land we feared natural deaths. but had no other fears. is her greatest misfortune. Enter CHITRA. When a woman is merely a woman. SCENE VII 13 . then she is happy. Now she has gone on a pilgrimage. [Exeunt. but not our hero's heart. you would have passed by without deigning to look at her.Chitra. indeed. I hear so many stories of her from all sorts of men. kisses your eyes to sleep. She can pierce any target she will. Arjuna Not today. and none knows where to find her. Arjuna They say that in valour she is a man. but she is not beautiful. Let me guide you thither. a Play in One Act Villagers Princess Chitra was the terror of all evil doers. Chitra Ah. Arjuna Is the warden of this country a woman? Villagers Yes. Chitra That. she is our father and mother in one. I have made our noonday bed in a cavern dark as night. dark as death. and a woman in tenderness. Of what use to her are learning and great achievements? Could you have seen her only yesterday in the court of the Lord Shiva's temple by the forest path. There the cool of the soft green mosses thick on the black and dripping stone. She has no such lovely eyes as mine. Chitra Why are you sitting all alone? Arjuna I am trying to imagine what kind of woman Princess Chitra may be. beloved. But have you grown so weary of woman's beauty that you seek in her for a man's strength? With green leaves wet from the spray of the foaming waterfall.

She is like the spirit of a cheerless morning. It will never sound sweet to man's ear. Who occupied your mind today? Is it Chitra? Arjuna Yes. Arjuna I am eager to learn all about her. Domes and towers and garden−trees look vague and shadowy. Chitra What more is there to tell? Arjuna SCENE VII 14 . Her womanly love must content itself dressed in rags. She is obscured. and the dull moan of the sea comes fitfully through the silence of sleep. if I keep you entwined in my arms? Would you rudely snatch yourself free and leave me? Go then! But you must know that the liana. my lord! Tell me what uneasy thoughts tease you. Chitra You need have no fear for them. Go. With new glory will I ennoble this idle arm. But. then remember that the goddess of pleasure is fickle. beauty is denied her. it is Chitra. a Play in One Act Chitra Why not today? Arjuna I have heard that a horde of robbers has neared the plains. if your thirst is quenched. shutting her woman's heart in a bare cell. tell me her story. the unfortunate creature? Her very qualities are as prison walls.Chitra. Arjuna Yet permit me for a short while to set about a Kshatriya's work. Oh. if not. Of what could she stand in need? Chitra Her needs? Why. Before she started on her pilgrimage. Chitra What if I refuse to let you go. Princess Chitra had set strong guards at all the frontier passes. I am like a traveller come to a strange city at midnight. sitting upon the stony mountain peak. Needs must I go and prepare my weapons to protect the frightened villagers. all her light blotted out by dark clouds. once broken in two. and waits for no man. Do not ask me of her life. what has she ever had. I wonder in fulfilment of what vow she has gone on her pilgrimage. never joins again. Wistfully he waits for the morning to reveal to him all the strange wonders. and make of it a pillow more worthy of your head. Sit for a while. she is unfulfilled.

choking breath. and when I grow old I will accept humbly and gratefully whatever corner is left for me. proudly holding the reins in her left hand. and in her right a bow. dense cover of perfumed intoxication. and thus end my days. to emerge in a chaste fire of pain through a vaporous veil of smiles. She advances towards her lover in disguise. are beautiful! My heart is restless. It is better that I should keep spread about me all the dainty playthings of fugitive youth. when all is done something still remains. this dank. Out from this slumbrous prison of green gloom. you can go to work or play. would you be able to bear it? If I stand up straight and strong with the strength of a daring heart spurning the wiles and arts of twining weakness. If the rites are over. no. that bare simplicity of truth. I brought from the garden of heaven flowers of incomparable beauty with which to worship you. SCENE IX CHITRA and ARJUNA Chitra [cloaked] My lord. But a time comes when she throws off her ornaments and veils and stands clothed in naked dignity. let us both race on swift horses side by side. look at your worshipper with gracious eyes. has the cup been drained to the last drop? Is this. Like a watchful lioness she protects the litter at her dugs with a fierce love. and like the Goddess of Victory dispensing glad hope all round her. fair one. you could not endure it. Would it please your heroic soul if the playmate of the night aspired to be the helpmeet of the day. Thus my love is incomplete. like a serpent reviving from his long winter's sleep. I gain glimpses of a being trying to rend asunder the languorous grace of her body. this timid bloom of beauty shrinking from the rude and healthy touch of the world. riding on a white horse. Why these tears. Woman's arms.Chitra. You seem to me like a goddess hidden within a golden image. if the flowers have faded. Come. if. Let me for ever sit with my hope on the brink of its realization. I will smilingly pour out for you the wine of pleasure in the cup of this beauteous body. indeed. I have many flaws and blemishes. in your playful words mocking at their own meaning. When it pleases you to return. When you are tired and satiated with this wine. I grope for that ultimate you. Chitra Arjuna. if I hold my head high like a tall young mountain fir. though adorned with naught but unfettered strength. and wait for you in patience. if the left arm learnt to share the burden of the proud right arm? Arjuna I never seem to know you aright. shall I then appeal to man's eye? No. by some magic I could shake myself free from this voluptuous softness. a Play in One Act I seem to see her. god of my heart. I am not beautifully perfect as the flowers with which I worshipped. I am a SCENE IX 15 . let me throw them out of the temple [unveiling in her original male attire]. no longer trailing in the dust like a liana. and fling it from my body like borrowed clothes. now at once. my darling? Forget what I said. Illusion is the first appearance of Truth. I cannot pay you my dues in return for your priceless gifts. my love? Why cover your face with your hands? Have I pained you. like twin orbs of light sweeping through space. I cannot touch you. Let each separate moment of beauty come to me like a bird of mystery from its unseen nest in the dark bearing a message of music. I will be content with the present. tell me true. in my mind's eye. the end? No. and that is my last sacrifice at your feet. Now. Sometimes in the enigmatic depth of your sad look.

my life is full. I am that woman. and wearied my hero's heart with the burden of that deceit. the unsullied loveliness of a moment's life? The gift that I proudly bring you is the heart of a woman. accept this as your servant for the days to come! I am Chitra. the hopes and fears and shames of a daughter of the dust. the daughter of a king. I shall myself teach him to be a second Arjuna. Herein lies an imperfection which yet is noble and grand. a Play in One Act traveller in the great world−path. nor yet the object of common pity to be brushed aside like a moth with indifference. Arjuna Beloved. If your babe. Most surely I am not that woman. I am Chitra. if you allow me to share the great duties of your life. whom I am nourishing in my womb be born a son. and my feet are bleeding with thorns. She was my disguise. That shameless woman came to court you as though she were a man. my garments are dirty. You rejected her. and send him to you when the time comes. Today I can only offer you Chitra. No goddess to be worshipped. the king's daughter. SCENE IX 16 . Where should I achieve flower−beauty.Chitra. my master. then you will know my true self. My lord. and then at last you will truly know me. If you deign to keep me by your side in the path of danger and daring. Then by the boon of gods I obtained for a year the most radiant form that a mortal ever wore. Here have all pains and joys gathered. her body loaded with ornaments and finery. If the flower−service is finished. Perhaps you will remember the day when a woman came to you in the temple of Shiva. here love springs up struggling toward immortal life. you did well.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful